Board and Management

Karen Fraser Payne – General Manager and Trustee

Karen Fraser Payne is a founding Touch Compass trustee, former chair, and now General Manager of the company. She is also a trustee of Hohepa Auckland. Karen has over 20 years experience in the communications and tourism industries and is an accredited communications practitioner. Previously working as the Private Secretary of Tourism to the Prime Minister RT Hon John Key and Associate Minister of Tourism Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, as well as former Minister of Tourism Hon Damien O’Connor, Karen has a wealth of experience in dealing with policy. Karen has both a professional and personal interest in the work Touch Compass is doing as she has a daughter who has a disability.

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Catherine Chappell – Artistic Director and Trustee

Catherine founded Touch Compass in 1997. Today she is the company’s Artistic Director, known for her pioneering work in both Inclusive Dance and Contact Improvisation in New Zealand. Catherine is an integral part of the company, also working as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. She was recently awarded a Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellowship to research aerial bungee and contact improvisation; studying with Strings Attached from Sydney, with plans to train with Wired Aerial Theatre in Liverpool. Catherine has danced with LIMBS Dance Company and Vivienne Newport in Germany. She has taught Contact Improvisation and contemporary dance at UNITEC School of Performing and Screen Arts, New Zealand School of Dance and University of Otago School of Physical Education – to name just a few.

In 2012 was interviewed for Cultural Icons – Conversations with Iconic People. Watch the interview here

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Rev Dr Helen Jacobi – Chairperson
Helen Jacobi is the Chair of the Touch Compass Board, having joined in 2013. The Vicar of Auckland's St Matthew-in-the-City church, she was previously dean of Napier Cathedral. Helen has had a lifelong interest in the arts – and in dance in particular. She enjoys seeing the way Touch Compass performances change the way people look at the world and the inclusion of those with so-called "disabilities".
Simon Pound - Trustee
Jane Blackmore - Trustee
Guy Ryan - Trustee


Juliet Allardice – Administrator

Juliet takes care of Touch Compass’s finance administration – and all kinds of other things besides. She joined the company in 2013.



Sue Cheesman – Encompass Senior Tutor

A longstanding and highly esteemed member of New Zealand’s dance community, Sue Cheesman is a dance teacher, choreographer and researcher. Currently the Senior Lecturer in Dance Education at the University of Waikato, Sue is also the Senior Tutor for Touch Compass’s Encompass community education programme. Sue gets great satisfaction from applying her skills to the development of inclusive dance in New Zealand – and particularly from helping Touch Compass achieve its goal of challenging what dance is and who can do it.

Rebecca Solomon – Youth Tutor

Rebecca joined Touch Compass in 2013 as the Youth Tutor, planning and facilitating inclusive classes for dancers ages 13-24. She enjoys encouraging everyone to try dance, learn new skills, develop relationships and connections and, most of all, have fun. Rebecca also revels in leading her students to more complex skill development and performance opportunities.

Rebecca trained with Christchurch’s Hagley Dance Company before gaining a Bachelor of Performing Screen Arts from Unitec. She has also completed a range of post graduate studies in Special Education and Health Sciences (Creative Expressive Therapies). In 2014 she completed a Master of Creative and Performing Arts in Dance Studies from Auckland University.

Rebecca says she gets many rewards from her work with Touch Compass, the most significant being “the company holds many of the values that are important to me in dance and life”.



Romola Lang – Executive Producer

Romola approaches every project creatively, collaboratively and with the secret knowledge that coaxing clever people into exceeding a brief is where the magic lies. She has designed and produced all kinds of multi and mixed-media works – including Touch Compass’s acclaimed DanceBox series.